Britain’s Love Story

Britain’s Love Story
Sunday 21 October 2007 10:45pm – 11:45pm on ITV1.

A new three-part series, Britain’s Love Story charts the revolution in modern love, sex and marriage in Britain during the last 50 years.

Celebrities and ordinary people with extraordinary stories reveal their most intimate experiences of love and marriage, from the generation who dreamt of true love back in the 1950s to today’s women who, empowered by the sexual revolution, risk it all on the men they choose to marry.

Each show explores common themes in the love experiences of each generation. The first show, True Love, looks at how youngsters in the 50s and 60s dreamt of true, everlasting love – and how they coped when the sometimes inevitable heartbreak followed. Forbidden Love looks at how young lovers began to openly defy restrictions of sex, class and race from the 1960s onwards.

Finally, Blind Love looks at the most obsessive love of all, in which an increasing number of us are giving up all we know – homes, families, friends and sometimes our own sanity – to follow our hearts and be with the loves of our life.

In each, characters reveal the highs and lows of falling in love, marriage, having children, bust-ups and for some, affairs and ultimately divorce. Some rediscover enduing love, for others it ends in heartbreak.

Each programme is illustrated with a nostalgic colour archive and a rock and roll soundtrack filled with sentiments of each era, and the series features the personal testimonies of actor Tony Booth, renowned madam Cynthia Payne, Lord Brocket and Alex Best.

In the first show, True Love: In the 50s and 60s the young generation were taught that love and marriage would be forever and many believed that their first love – often experienced as a teenager – was to be their one and only true love. Through the personal testimonies of five contributors, including society madam Cynthia Payne and actor Tony Booth, Britain’s Love Story provides a snapshot of a generation who dreamt of a happy ever after – but who didn’t necessarily always achieve it.

Most teenage girls were keen to break free from parental restrictions and experience true, everlasting love, including Pamela Swift from Newcastle who fell in love with Alan at the age of 14. But when Pamela discovered at the age of 15 that she was pregnant, her future was destined for unhappiness and uncertainly when she was told to give up her baby and to forget all thoughts about a relationship with the baby’s father. Only when her daughter found her 18 years later did Pamela get back together again with her first love.

Christine Williams from Liverpool was also 14 when she fell in love with Derek. In the affluent 60s the trend was to get married young and at the age of 18 Christine married him before emigrating to Australia in search of a better life and job prospects. After two children, their relationship came to breaking point when Christine discovered Derek had been having an affair. Further troubles were to follow, but Derek remained Christine’s only true love.

Patsy Moorhead from London was 19 when the man of her dreams Bob proposed. They married in 1961, two children followed and her life seemed perfect – although in reality it was to become predictable, humdrum and ultimately, unhappy. Patsy kicked their relationship back into shape with a little effort and today they are in love more than ever.

Britain’s most famous madam Cynthia Payne describes how she thought she’d met the man of her dreams, Tony, when she was 16, but then fell pregnant. After struggling to cope with the harsh realities of being a single mother, and facing social rejection and a lifetime of poverty, Cynthia found a foster mother for her child so she could work. She moved to Margate and met fairground lad Sid, whom she hoped would make all her dreams come true. She wanted to marry him, but after three abortions they eventually drifted apart. In her late 20s Cynthia returned to London and re-evaluated her life, becoming a prostitute’s maid, then a prostitute, then a madam. ‘If I can’t have love, I’ll take the money,’ she says.

And actor Tony Booth talks candidly about falling head over heels for the late actress Pat Phoenix and about their tempestuous affair which ended with a marriage on her death bed.

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